M-Sport has unveiled its 2017-specification FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) contender. Based on the new-for-2017 road-going Fiesta, the new rally car will spearhead M-Sport’s challenge throughout next year’s eagerly anticipated season.
A clean sheet design, M-Sport’s latest car features a fully CFD designed bodyshell, complete with front splitter and dive planes, caricatured box arches with extraction vents, profiled side skirts with turning vanes, a rear diffuser and a sizeable rear wing which gives the Fiesta WRC a striking visual design.
M-Sport states that the Fiesta has undergone a complete redesign and 95% of the car has been designed from scratch to deliver more power, and more mechanical grip. As a result, the car is capable of producing 380bhp and 450Nm of torque from its bespoke Ecoboost-powered 1600cc direct injection engine with the 36mm inlet restrictor in place.
A newly-designed six-speed sequential gearbox with hydraulic shift runs alongside a multi-disc clutch and an active centre differential offers enhanced control and performance. Evolving further, redesigned MacPherson struts with Reiger external reservoir dampers are fully adjustable in bump and rebound, while ventilated brake discs with unique four-piston monoblock calipers provide the stopping power.
Improved safety has also formed a key part of the Fiesta WRC’s development. A T45 steel rollcage is welded to the chassis with structural door sill reinforcements. This is in conjunction with an increase in energy absorbing foam within the car, up to 95-liters – in comparison to the 60-liters if its predecessor.
Having already clocked 6,392kms of testing, with more to follow this coming week, M-Sport is confident the Fiesta WRC is ‘ready to tackle some of the most arduous and demanding stages that the FIA World Rally Championship has to offer’.
“Entering a new era in the FIA World Rally Championship, there is a real sense of excitement throughout the team, and rightly so as I believe we have created something extremely special in the new Ford Fiesta WRC,” enthused M-Sport managing director, Malcolm Wilson OBE. “Having driven the car myself, I can honestly say that it is one of the most impressive we have ever produced. It’s exciting to drive, it sounds fantastic and it looks absolutely sensational. Every team is starting on an equal footing and I’m confident that we have produced another car which is capable of challenging – and winning – at the very highest level.”
“A tremendous amount of effort, passion and enthusiasm has gone into this project and there has been a real commitment from our entire team,” added M-Sport head of engineering, Chris Williams. “Designing a brand new car from a completely clean sheet of paper has allowed our team to re-evaluate every single component to produce the lightest and most innovative car possible. We’ve pushed the physical boundaries in all areas and have some very interesting things going on underneath the surface that we are sure are unique to this car and have already improved performance significantly in testing. It’s not been an easy ride, but everyone realised how much potential this car has early on and that has given us the energy to keep on pushing flat out.”
Since its introduction into the sport, the Fiesta – in its various guises as R1, R2, R5, S2000 and WRC – has become rallying’s most successful model with countless victories and championship laurels around the globe.
This year alone, the Ford Fiesta R5 claimed an impressive 159 outright victories as well as countless class wins and a second successive FIA European Rally Championship.